For the third consecutive time, the left has lost the presidential elections. Faced with the reactionary demagogue, Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal and the leadership of the PS (Socialist Party) ran the most empty and conservative campaign in the entire history of the socialist movement. Their programme did not have one single measure to seriously improve the lot of the victims of capitalism, through which they could have been enthused. As a result, some of them were deceived by the "break" Sarkozy claims to represent.
This defeat was inflicted upon us by the leadership of the Socialist Party. Sitting comfortably in their institutions, welcomed and appreciated by the bourgeois, they spent their time underlining the "points of convergence" with the UDF (Union pour la démocratie française). Being body and soul with capitalism, they were incapable of offering the slightest measure that could bring the system into question. In the legislative elections, the right will benefit not only from the élan over the Sarkozy's victory, but also from the political bankruptcy of the leadership of the Socialist Party.
Sarkozy's campaign was the height of dishonesty and hypocrisy. He said that he will deal with the poor, the disposed, the oppressed, the unemployed, and the workers. Those who actually believed this flood of promises will quickly become disillusioned. The actions of Sarkozy will respond exclusively to the needs of the capitalist class. The right have no other objective other than to submit the entire economy and society to the law of profit. The right will lead an implacable and systematic offensive against social gains, rights, wages, working conditions, pensions and social security. They will feed racism as well as administrative and police harassment against "foreigners".
The electoral statistics hide more than they reveal. Universal suffrage gives the same weight to those who are inert, stagnant and demoralised as it does to the more conscious and militant social forces of society. Elections are like a snapshot. They provide a fixed image of a society in motion, in the context of growing instability. Social consciousness and the mood of the different social classes are extremely mobile and fluid. The 17 million people who voted for Ségolène Royal conceal a force capable of resisting any government, even to overthrow them.
Far from being a period of "national unity", the Sarkozy years will be marked by massive struggles, over the course of which the militant and revolutionary traditions of our class will be awakened. However, we know that strikes and demonstrations, no matter how massive and impressive, cannot but obtain, at best, a temporary respite, the tactical withdrawal of the enemy, because the vital interests of capitalism are at stake.
A fundamental, revolutionary change is required. We must join all struggles to defend the interests of the workers and youth against the attacks of the bosses and the state. However, we mustn't forget that the struggles must go hand on hand with the struggle to re-establish the programme and principles of socialism in our organisations. Only socialism can deliver us from Sarkozy's claws and the system they represent.
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Interview with Stephen Bouquin on the movement in France (April 6, 2006)
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- France - Faced with the intransigence of the government: for immediate presidential and legislative elections! (March 28, 2006)
- Mass protests and strikes in France: the dawning of a new era by Greg Oxley (March 21, 2006)
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